Monday, October 14, 2013

Pink 1930s Maxi Dress in the Bay Area

I had two events on Saturday, because they were relatively close together time wise, but not distance, I could only wear one outfit.

I wore a BCBG pink maxi dress with irregular hem and scarf collar, recently acquired, over a black slip with a black beaded cardy (from Ross years ago), vintage black leather gloves, black elastic bow belt (similar $10), Earth Caraway T-Strap Wedge Sandal $80, mustache scarf, tilted black felt teardrop hat (which I died myself) with one of my metal magnets decorations in pink.

Yes that's an octopus broach in the center.

I was a little worried initially that I was mixing my periods with a 1940s hat and a 1930s dress. And then I saw these images!



Clearly the tilted hat was popular in the 1930s as well as the 1940s!

Debbie with Gail by Ric via FB
So this dress is not normally the kind of thing I would buy. But I've taken to loving maxi dresses and there was something so floaty about this one that I couldn't resist it once I tried it on at the outlet mall. I actually didn't think it would work for a retro look because of the lack of sleeves and the neckline. However, it turns out both the scarf neckline and the sleevelessness are also 1930s in style!

Of course, it doesn't look like that on me. Sigh. I had to put a belt on it, it just wasn't working properly without it, and it seems OK for the 1930s look.

1930 Real Women
 Look at all those irregular hemlines? So much fun. And the big necklaces, I thought necklaces like that were so 1960s. I clearly require a 1930s education.


Of course this dress doesn't quite fit the Rack properly. And I should look into the right kind of bra.

But that bow tye is authentic to the period. In fact it's authentic to many time periods.

Bartholomeus van der Helst, Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange  1652 via detailsofpaintings tumblr

Of course, it turns out this style keeps seeing a resurgence. I remember these dresses from the late 90s.

 John Galliano, 2000s  Kerry Taylor Auctions; self with flowers from Michael & John

In addition to the amazing flowers gifted to me by Michael & John, my most faithful (and best dressed) admirers, I'm carrying a new little bag I picked up at TJ Max and am rather charmed by.

Turns out this too had the right 1930s look. And I really chose it out of necessity and appeal. Who knew?

Vintage 1930s bag, leather handbag

I think that I, like many people, conflate the 1930s too much with the 1920s and then dismiss the style out of hand. When, in fact, the 1930s seems to be far more forgiving to a Rack than the 20s. Technically, one could go to a Deco party in 1930s garb instead of 1920s, I must remember this fact. I wonder what the setting time is for Miss Fisher's Mysteries? I bet the TV series costumer is going more 1930s.

with Suzanne at Keplers

It was a little cold at Keplers for the evening event. So I kept the scarf on.

Seamaidmm Mustache Voile Scarf $12

I love this scarf, it's nice and big, just warm enough to be always useful, and silly. I wore mine all the time I was in France this last spring, although I don't think the French appreciated the humor or the irony. It made me happy.

I had my nails done to match the outfit, in Opi's sand polish. Which I kind of adore for its very oddness.

I'll leave you with some lust worth deco jewelry, which is my favorite style of jewelry (specifically the Moderne variant).

1930 Earrings  Cartier  Christie’s

1930s  Sotheby’s

Clip Brooch  Cartier, 1928  Christie’s

Earrings  Bulgari  Sotheby’s

And something for Prudence to wear in the Parasol Protectorate Abroad books:

1890 From Galliera musee de la Mode

1890s Tiffany & Co.,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. The Miss Fisher Mysteries are set in 1928 and 1929 - at least that's the time setting for the books and so far the series seems to have kept quite close to the published stories.

  2. Gorgeous! I do love a float asymmetrical hemline like nothing else.

  3. As Jessica said above, the Miss Fisher books are set in the late 1920s and the TV show is supposedly keeping it the same - but who knows whether they're being totally authentic with their costuming!

    Speaking of Miss Fisher costuming, Dr Mac always gave me a very Madame Lefoux vibe :)


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